Wow, how is everybody enjoying the economic boom?

Gross Domestic Product in the March quarter was up 0.8 per cent - that annualises to 3.2 per cent growth, quake and all.

The dollar on Thursday topped US85c, so in the eyes of the world New Zealand has never been a better place to put some money.

No wonder Roll-Royce is setting up its first local dealership. Clearly we've never had it so good,

What's that you say? Redundancies, pay freezes, rising food costs? Well obviously if you make a living anywhere near the retail sector things are still pretty tough.

Oh and public servants - well with the Government needing to cut spending to pay off debt times won't be great for you. But exporters are going great guns.

Okay, yes if your primary market is the US or you trade in US currency then the high dollar will be hurting and you'll need to be keep budgets tight. At least farmers have never had it better.

Sorry say that again?

Yes, of course if you purchased your farm anytime in the last decade the value will have fallen dramatically and you'll need to put those extra earnings straight into your whopping mortgage, fair enough.

Manufacturers are booming that's for sure, 3.6 per cent for the growth in the March quarter. Nearly 15 per cent growth if you annualise that one - wow! Oh, really ... so that only lifts manufacturing output back to levels we had in 2005 - that global financial crisis really pummelled the sector didn't it. Hmmm ... so manufacturing activity declined 7.2 per cent in the March 2009 quarter alone.

Hey but good times though, the recovery is in full swing ... on paper anyway ...

The gaping disconnect between Thursday's figures and what the economy actually feels like out there is so wide that it has some people questioning the validity of the statistics.

Even Statistics New Zealand was surprised by the result. It delayed releasing the data while it was double checked. The final figures may still be subject to revision but that can go either way.

The numbers for the previous two quarters were also revised upwards on Thursday, indicating a trend.

So no, it is unlikely that the statistics are materially incorrect.

The reality is that this is the economy rebalancing. This is the economy doing what Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard and all those economists hoped would happen. It has happened before but perhaps never from such a position of such great imbalance.

It was never going to feel good.

Money is flowing in to the economy, but that money is not yet flowing through to the pockets of the average New Zealander. GDP is coming off a low base and the domestic growth that is under way is being given a helping hand by interest rates that remain at historically low levels.

The flip side of this balancing act is that many New Zealanders were bemused by the negativity in the business press at the time of the global financial crisis.

At that point the domestic economy was still humming despite the obvious macro-economic crisis playing out on the global stage.

Concentrating solely on the GDP figure doesn't give us an accurate picture of the financial situation of a nation's citizens.

Bollard knows that and while it is likely Thursdays' data does increase the likelihood of an earlier rate rise, he and his colleagues at the Reserve Bank will continue to monitor a range of figures in the lead-up to any move.

Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English should also be wary of trumpeting the economic good times as they head into the election. Voters are unlikely to be feeling as buoyant as these statistics.

Consider the extent to which people regularly continue to talk about the "recession" or "downturn" as if it was still with us.

Technically New Zealand hasn't been in a recession for two years. - the most recent pair of consecutive shrinking quarters were December 2008 and March 2009.

A better measure of the domestic economy's performance for the first six months of this year might be the company results which are due to be reported next month. Many of the nation's big employers are about to report earnings for the six months to June 30.

It will be interesting to see whether corporate revenues marry better than GDP figures with anecdotal evidence that the domestic economy did take a hit in the wake of the Christchurch quake.

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